Welcome to our 67th newsletter on Star Atlas! This weekly newsletter is published by Aephia Industries and focuses entirely on Star Atlas. Here we try to aggregate all the newsworthy tidbits that were dropped by the team throughout the past week.
The past week got us a brand new issue of the Atlas Star, issue 15, and more information on the upcoming mobile companion app. For those not yet up to speed on this upcoming mobile application, we’ll provide an extensive deep dive into what we currently know!
With the airdrops now finally available (read more about that later), we’ve also received a first look at the new X-Small ships that came as a reward with some of the CSS Land plots. You will see shots of these throughout the newsletter!
However, not everything was rainbows and unicorns last week. Let’s start things off with the bad news!
Showroom – Ground Racing Postponed
The Atlas Star broke the news that the Ground Racing mode, which was only recently announced as part of the next Showroom release (R2.1), has been postponed and will now come live with patch R2.2 (expected early Q3).
When asked about this, Michael (CEO) had the following to say:
We discussed on Friday and it’s going to line up better with an event we have planned mid year. So it’s a 2.2 feature now. But @bunthius is working a bunch of extras in 2.1 in place of it.
For those observant, there is the beginning of an announcement hidden in his statement: The team is planning some kind of event around the middle of this year, which will (likely) coincide with the release of R2.2!
To wrap up the bad news, the Jetpack, mentioned during the Townhall (early February) as a potential stretch goal for R2.1, has also been moved to R2.2. No clarification was given, though this may have been postponed for the same reason.
Last week we reported that the StartSequence (claimable) airdrops were delayed by a few days and would go live that same Monday.
Unfortunately, that did not come to pass. They found that (an external) part of the claim system that the team relied on had not been maintained throughout Solana protocol upgrades. Jacob (CTO) got involved and ultimately managed to fix this, while also making the claim system more robust and ready for future drops.
Ultimately, it took the team until Thursday before the rewards went live. With that said, some items, such as the Mining Drill and Power Plant, are not yet available. It is not currently clear when these will become available.
If you haven’t already, you can now enter your inventory and claim the following rewards (provided you bought one of the StartSequence assets from the team before the end of January):
Rewards for Phase I – Ship Discounts:
- Custom ship skin
- Another copy of a discounted ship (if you acquired the original before the announcement of Phase I)
Rewards for Phase II – CSS Land & Hab Sales:
- Crafting station
- Cargo storage
- Commemorative badge
- Custom ship skins
- Interior and exterior paint for the hab
- Landing pad
- Spaceships (Unreleased, note that these will be sold down the line)
- Pet house
Mobile Companion App
Since September of last year (it looks like the concept was born somewhere in July of 2022), the team has been drip-feeding small tidbits concerning an upcoming mobile application that would sit next to the Showroom and SAGE, as a stand-alone application to enhance the Star Atlas experience. From early on, it was suggested the app would have something to do with crew members (aka crew cards).
Concrete information about a potential release date came in November, when Michael shared that it would not launch before the end of Q1 2023. The investor deck -that leaked after the collapse of FTX- reinforced a Q1 launch date.
Regarding what this new app will be about, the crew-related rumors were confirmed in that same investor deck, which contained the following description: “Mobile app which will drive NFT sales through [the] sale of crew members.”
Near the tail-end of last week, we suddenly got some more information when Michael dropped that the app would launch in the near future, in response to a question about the company’s plans to extend its runway. In the next sections, we’ve summarized all that we know at the moment.
What to expect?
Around the same time as the app will launch, the team will also offer (new) crew members (also called “crew cards”) for sale. You will be able to “load” these into the app, where you will be able to improve the value of these crew members, through an -as of yet- unknown method.
When asked if this would be like Tamagotchi with crew members, Michael responded, “not quite.” Combined with the aforementioned information, this likely means that there will be some limited gameplay to train/improve the skill/stats of your crewmember.
Note that it looks like this app has only been in development for about six months (at least no longer than 9), so with regard to this gameplay, it’s best to expect something like Faction Fleet (SCORE). It won’t be anywhere near a full-fledged mobile game. This is an ancillary application, after all, that was conceived only relatively recently.
For those afraid this will consume too much of the team’s time, you will be happy to learn that this mobile app is being developed by an undisclosed 3rd party. Now you might wonder if this is a good use of resources (note that this app was commissioned before the FTX shenanigans), but the team hopes this mobile app will increase their global reach and draw new people into the game!
Crew members will be used in SAGE, but Danny (CPO) shared that the team is also working on getting your crew members into the Showroom this year.
Lastly, Michael shared that the app will likely launch before the pre-alpha stage of SAGE. In short: This could happen as early as March (sticking to the original end of Q1 target date) or somewhere in Q2.
The Future Crew Drop
Now we can’t talk about crew sales & an app to “increase the value” of crew members, without also addressing the forthcoming ship-related crew drop coming in the future (no date has been provided yet).
As you might know, every ship currently bought on the Galactic Marketplace (or acquired via different means)comes with all its components, modules, and crew members. At some point in the future, the team will take a snapshot of the ships in your wallet(s) and shortly afterward drop you the number of crew members associated with those ships (you can see this info in the ship description on the GM). The same will happen for the components and modules, though these two events might not coincide.
When this drop completes (which won’t be an actual drop, you will instead claim these items in your inventory), the ships will no longer “come” with these items. Once all the components, modules, and crew members have dropped, the ships themselves can be regarded as the “ship hulls” instead of the actual ship.
Two important things we know about this crew drop in relation to the mobile app:
- Crew member dropped will be fully usable in the mobile app. There is no different treatment of crew members bought on the marketplace and those dropped into your wallet.
- The team hasn’t formalized a strategy on the drop yet, meaning that they have not yet decided to pull the crew drop forward now that they are nearing the release of the mobile app.
Another interesting tidbit, shared by Danny, is that the team is looking into a potential “freemium”, off-chain mode, which will allow users to play without owning a crew member. The rewards from that experience will then need to be minted on-chain at a later point, most likely requiring some form of payment.
Given that the team is currently looking into this, however, it would seem that such a mode would be introduced later down the line, after the initial launch of the app, if at all.
Sandbox Game Jam
A few months ago, in the middle of October 2022, Star Atlas and Sandbox teamed up to organize a Game Jam.
The assignment was to create a game experience inside Sandbox that would feel like the player was in the Star Atlas universe. Teams of up to 4 people were allowed, and all the assets had to have been uniquely created for this competition.
Though the submission deadline was mid-November, the Sandbox team announced this competition’s winners only last week.
The four winners are:
- Best Overall Idea – Survival on the High Risk Planet by @IZAVoxeLab01
- Most Creative / Unique – REBELLION by @ParapluieStudio
- Best Use of Lore – Mission to Iris by @Ddd3Sandbox
- Best Game Design – Exodus by @RBX2
Congratulations to the winners, and thanks for bringing Star Atlas to the Sandbox!